Think of any tourist destination near your home and the likelihood of you not having visited it or did rarely visit the place is high. I would bet for this claim. It's surprising but it's true, sometimes we tend to miss an opportunity for too much familiarity. This holds true to my not having visited Villa Escudero despite being a native of San Pablo City, Laguna. My parent's home is roughly 15 minutes away from the place but I didn't have a single chance of visiting it while I'm still living there. To add more irony to it, my high school classmate belongs to the prominent family who owns the Hacienda. Many times I was invited by her for a day tour to which I will usually respond a procrastinating next time. Gladly, we finally found the luck to pop in.
General ambiance inside the Villa is relaxing, homey and serene. It's a typical laid back atmosphere to enjoy. If there's one thing that the Villa is highly commendable for, it's having maintained its distinctive "Filipino" offering. It could be one of the remaining few heritage sites to explore in the Philippines. This is one place to visit for Foreign and Balikbayan visitors. Among the must try are the carabao ride, lunch at the Labasin Falls and view of the cultural show.
Apart from the hits, of course we've likewise identified some misses. First, is the poor maintenance of the lake. The water is not clear and a lot of dried leaves and wastes made the overall look of the lake unsightly. The repertoire of the lunch buffet is less appetizing too. The meal selection is ok but the quality is far from what I have expected. It failed to meet the value of the day tour ( P1250). Overall, I feel that there's something missing in the experience. At any rate, it still is a must visit place. But it's not something you would miss every once in a while.